If there is one city in the state of Jalisco in Mexico that is multi-hyphenate, nothing is more fitting than Puerto Vallarta. Cushioned between the Bahia de Banderas and expansive lush green rolling mountains, the beach resort city boasts one of the most alluring tourist destinations in Mexico. Some of its popular monikers include the “most romantic destination in Mexico”, “safest city in Mexico”, and “friendliest city in the world”. Puerto Vallarta, or simply called by locals, Vallarta, proves it has it all. Everywhere you go, whatever you do—you will have beautiful memories to take with you.
So jump right in and let’s go explore. Here are the 10 best things to do in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
Take a full-day tour exploring the wonderful marine biodiversity of the Bahia de Banderas (Bay of Banderas) and the Mexican Pacific. Snorkeling and bird-watching are fun things to do, but kayaking in the clear waters is one of the tour highlights. Play with diverse species of charming dolphins, observe enormous whales and manta rays, and swim alongside green sea turtles.
Duration: 7 hours
Price: from 1,533 MXN (84.99 USD)
2. Sightseeing in Banderas Bay
Bandera Bay is so magical that it is said to be 3.2 kilometers (2 miles) in depth. Making it even more enchanted are a large number of gigantic creatures visiting near the shore that tourists can see. Some of them are enormous humpback whales, manta rays, marlin, sailfish, marlin, and so many others. Talk about free sightseeing.
Website: Banderas Bay
3. Los Arcos Marine Park
The Los Arcos Marine Park has been declared a protected area since 1984. Today, it has become one of the most popular tourist destinations in Mexico. Situated south of the Banderas Bay, it has grown to be one of the major stopovers of cruise ships because of its tiny granite islands magnificently swelling from the ocean’s surface. The area also has become a great site for scuba divers and snorkelers owing to its rich marine biodiversity.
Los Arcos Marine Park
Website: Los Arcos Marine Park
Had enough of the water? Don’t fret! Start the adrenaline pumping with the Puerto Vallarta Outdoor Adventure Tour. Indulge in sweat-breaking activities while immersing in Mother Nature’s best. Rappel down gushing waterfalls; conquer the zip line suspended over a river canopy; cross a hanging bridge in the midst of the forest; race on 4x4 jeeps; get fast and furious on a speedboat—there are enough things to do for every adventure seeker.
Puerto Vallarta Outdoor Adventure Tour
Duration: 6 hours and 30 minutes
Price: from 1,966.52 MXN (108.99 USD)
5. Kitesurfing and windsurfing in Bucerias
June, the best time of the season! Great wind and empty beaches! Perfect conditions for your kiteboarding classes!Posted by KITE MEXiKO on Friday, 2 June 2017
If kitesurfing and windsurfing are your thing but the crowd is not part of your vocabulary, there is an astounding reason why Bucerias exists. It is for you! Located just along the Banderas Bay, Bucerias boasts a long stretch of white sandy soft beach. Dubbed as the Wind Capital of the Riviera Nayarit, Bucerias is known for kitesurfing and windsurfing. Take a side trip and hit the street villages made of cobblestone.
When in Puerto Vallarta, grab the opportunity to learn the basics of Mexican flavors. Condensed into a 5-hour cooking class, you will get a ton of new customary cooking techniques and recipes such as fish ceviche and tequila—that’s of course in a Mexican way. Along with this tour is a visit to a traditional tortilla factory. For marketing the ingredients, you get a glimpse of a vibrant market in Puerto Vallarta. Each day has different menus so make sure to check out their site for the list.
Puerto Vallarta Cooking Class
Duration: 5 hours
Price: from 1,534 MXN (85 USD)
7. Kiss a Dolphin at Aquaventuras Park
It’s free! Yes! You read it right. Get a handshake and a kiss the dolphin, plus an enjoyable belly ride around the pool. Aquaventuras Park also offers a zip line circuit, rock climbing, and a challenge circuit, still for free. But if you want to do it again, 108 MXN (6 USD) will only be emptied from your pocket.
Address: Carretera a Tepic KM, Puerto Vallarta, Nayarit, Mexico
Opening Hours: Daily, 11 am – 5 pm
Duration: 1 hour
Contact: +1 8007275391
Website: Aquaventuras Park
8. Puerto Vallarta International Gourmet Festival
A yearly event every November, the Puerto Vallarta International Gourmet Festival showcases the best food and wine happening along the Banderas Bay area. Well-renowned national and internationals chefs grace the event. There you get to attend cooking classes, learn wine pairing, taste the best wines and tequila, and so much more.
Puerto Vallarta International Gourmet Festival
9. Visit the Puerto Vallarta Art Walk
Puerto Vallarta is not just about beautiful white sand beaches and nature adventure, the city has a very rich art history, and the Puerto Vallarta Art Walk has a huge contribution in its promotion. If art galleries spur your interest, the art walk is a good place for you to visit. Paintings, fine ceramics, sculptures—made by both national and international artists—are there for you to enjoy.
Puerto Vallarta Art Walk
Address: #230 Calle Leona Vicario, Col. Centro, Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico
Opening Hours: Daily, 6 pm – 10 pm
Duration: 1 hour
Contact: +52 3222225502
Website: Puerto Vallarta Art Walk
10. Puerto Vallarta St. Cecilia Music Festival
St. Cecilia Music Festival takes place every November 22 in celebration of St. Cecilia, the patron saint of musicians. Various national and international artists perform a series of different concerts at the festival. It is open to the public and the whole family.
Puerto Vallarta St. Cecilia Music Festival
Go beyond the beaches
Puerto Vallarta undoubtedly is one of the most stunning beach destinations in Mexico. But with the variety of things to do and places to visit in the city, it is definitely not just about the beaches. There is more to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico than meets the eye.